Carbon-izer.com - Gessner Road

GESSNER ROAD

While parts of Gessner Road near Willowbrook Mall don't link up to the "main" page, Gessner and similar roads are incredibly long. This page starts at Westheimer Road and ends at Northwest Freeway but South Gessner goes all the way to South Main where it becomes Texas Parkway, and ends at FM 361 in Pearland as McHard Road. As of this writing, McHard is being extended to Mykawa, where it will end at the Pearland Parkway traffic circle. Version 4.0 of this page updates the first paragraph to account for the merged South Gessner page, cleans up other leftovers, and...

* adds Comerica Bank, Mister Car Wash (near Mathewson), 1410 Gessner (former restaurant, though I can't find what the original tenant was), Sunny Food Store, Popeyes, Shipley Do-Nuts, Baskin-Robbins, Jerry's Laundry & Cleaners, Gessner IV Shopping Center, Mac Haik Auto (the second location of AutoZone), Papa John's, Mister Car Wash (near Brigade), Aldi, and The Nut Place.
* updates The Tealstone (leftovers from merging South Gessner page and old format), Memorial City Mall (new page), Charter Auto Leasing & Rental, Inc. (elaborating on the new building), AutoZone (the third and current location), Pizza Hut (leftover from previous update), Weasel Wash (moved up), 2060 Gessner, and Hillendahl Neighborhood Library (moved Gessner Pavillion information out)
* merges Kroger and New Wok Chinese Cafe into new Hammerly Plaza section

WESTHEIMER ROAD to BARRYKNOLL LANE

We start here at Westheimer Road. South Gessner Road becomes Gessner Road at the Buffalo Bayou, and eventually it may be time to add a South Gessner Road page proper down to Southwest Freeway...but there's only one particular South Gessner address I wanted to cover.

El Tiempo Cantina / 2605 S. Gessner Road
The original restaurant that was here (then 100 Woodlake Square), a tiki hut-themed location of Don the Beachcomber, opened in the mid-1970s but was closed and torn down within a decade for Flakey Jake's, a hamburger restaurant similar to Fuddruckers, but it closed in September 1986 just after about a year of operation. From 1989 to 1999 was Marco's Mexican Restaurant. From approximately 1999 to 2004 it was Tortuga's Coastal Cantina.

In 2004, it became a new location of Amazon Grill and after it closed, became a location of El Tiempo Cantina in August 2014, which it still is. It was one of the few buildings to survive the rebuilding of Woodlake Square.

The Tealstone / 150 Gessner Road
South Gessner Road ends at Buffalo Bayou, Gessner Road begins north of it. The Tealstone is a 15-story condo is even before the first stoplight of Gessner. Surprisingly, the building predates many of the larger buildings in the area, being built in 1983.

One Memorial City Plaza / 800 Gessner Road
One of two twin twelve-story office buildings, built in 1981.

BARRYKNOLL LANE to KATY FREEWAY

Just south of Barryknoll, Gessner gains/loses a third through lane (additional lanes are around the freeway area). The lane emerges/disappears toward the inside of the road.

400 Memorial City Way
Formerly numbered at 875 Gessner Road, this was the Sears Auto Center adjacent to the Sears at Memorial City Mall and closed in fall 2018 with the store. It may have been demolished in 2020 with the main Sears store, I'm not sure.

Comerica Bank / 835 Gessner Road
Directly at the southwest corner of Kingsride and Gessner is this bank. It was formerly a Sterling Bank until 2011 when Comerica bought Sterling Bancshares.

Wells Fargo / 901 Gessner Road
This Wells Fargo bank has been here since 1997. To the immediate west of it is an empty lot, former home to Papa Joe's BBQ and torn down in early 2014. It was a former Jack in the Box, but changed hands around the early to mid 2000s.

Memorial City Mall / 303 Memorial City Way
Memorial City Mall has been here since 1966 and is one of the premier enclosed malls in the Houston area, currently anchored by Macy's, Target, Dillard's, and JCPenney, as well as featuring an ice rink and movie theater. Check out the separate page for the mall here, a comprehensive history of the mall with maps over the years.

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center / 921 Gessner Road
I've also seen 929 for the "main" address for this hospital, but make no mistake—this place is huge, with its flagship "crown" tower completed in 2009 (this is probably the actual 929 address). It actually holds offices within the crown. Before the main headquarters of Memorial Hermann were moved here, it was built back in 1971 as Memorial City General Hospital with a merger in the late 1980s causing it to assume its current name.

As the hospital did expand, it overtook other buildings and lots. One of these, for instance, was the home of Globe Shopping City (a division of Walgreens), which opened a large store (about 80,000 square feet) across from the Memorial City Mall at Katy Freeway in 1968. This store, which contained all the typical discount store departments, also included a "Food Department", though it isn't entirely clear if it was essentially a separate store or not (as these departments were almost entirely operated by a local third party). In 1978, Walgreens closed the money-losing chain, with FedMart purchasing the properties and reopening them in 1979, many of them replacing an older, smaller FedMart store.

This didn't last for very long. In 1981, FedMart closed the Houston stores before the chain went out of business a few years later. By 1984, Mervyn's department store was operating at the site, having completed a full remodel inside and out. But like with FedMart, Mervyn's did not last long at the site, as an opportunity opened in 1989 that allowed Mervyn's to actually be at Memorial City Mall in Lord & Taylor's old space, joining fellow department stores Foley's, Sears, and Montgomery Ward.

This left 975 Gessner vacant once more, and by 1990, Oshman's SuperSports USA opened, a "super-store" operated by the Oshman's sporting goods chain. In mid-2004, Oshman's left for a new store on the Katy Freeway, going under the name of their new owner, Sports Authority. The widening of Katy Freeway took nothing from the lot, but a new owner, Memorial Hermann, would buy the space, building a large hospital headquarters in the spot. As a result, by May 2005, the nearly 40-year-old building was gone and new construction began.

Another lot eaten by the hospital was a Shell (Memorial City Shell) at 999 Gessner, located at the direct southwest corner of I-10 and Gessner. It was a Shell of the "three hexagon canopy" variety (see the Katy page for another example) and was demolished in late 2005. It probably would've survived the widening of the Katy Freeway but was purchased by the hospital.


KATY FREEWAY to NEUENS ROAD

Yes, and Gessner does connect to Katy Freeway, which was linked from here. The main Katy page is right here, check it out!

CVS/pharmacy / 1002 Gessner Road
The construction of the Katy Freeway dramatically changed the north side of the road, and a CVS was built here in 2009. Previously, after the stoplight at Katy Freeway, there was a railroad crossing, then Old Katy Road, then a shopping center to the west and an Exxon station to the east. Directly across from the "I-10 & Gessner Exxon" was a Luther's Bar-B-Q at 1001 Gessner, demolished around 2005 for Katy Freeway expansion.

Mia's Table / 1035 Gessner Road
See the Torchy's Tacos entry for more information about what was here before. Around the time Mia's and Torchy's was built, Mathewson Lane was extended to Gessner and a stoplight was added.

Torchy's Tacos / 1035-A Gessner Road
Both of these restaurants opened up in front of where a supermarket was at 1049 Gessner, but had been gone for years. Originally it opened as a Kroger (likely sometime in the early 1980s) and closed around 1996. In March 1997, it reopened as a second Memorial Market supermarket (the smaller first one was on Katy Freeway in a former Continental Finer Foods) after renovations, with a focus on international items. Within about 5 or 6 years, Memorial Market transitioned into more of a strictly Korean supermarket. By 2006, it had become Komart Marketplace, which also has a Dallas location. I'm currently unable to ascertain whether Memorial Market was sold or rebranded, or not, but unfortunately, in 2010, the store closed down for good and was demolished for redevelopment. As of early 2016, the sign for Komart still remained up, but that went away as construction continued to change the area. Both Torchy's and Mia's were underway in 2019 and opened in 2020.

Despite the expansion of Mathewson Lane to Gessner, the actual footprint of the store remains undeveloped.

Mister Car Wash / 1038 Gessner Road
This long-standing car wash has been here since 1973. In 2019, it updated to the modern Mister Car Wash logo and updated the exterior, probably in conjunction with the parking lot entrance getting signalized as part of Mathewson Lane's extension.

Whataburger / 1040 Gessner Road
This Whataburger restuarant was built in '95.

Charter Auto Leasing & Rental, Inc. / 1205 Gessner Road
This building opened in 1974 as a Sizzler, and like most of the other Sizzler restaurants in the area, closed after 1984. This never saw use as a restaurant again. In 1990 it was an insurance office (Fairway Acceptance). It should be noted that in the 1970s, the parking lot was much larger (an office building was built in the parking lot).

Taco Bell / 1223 Gessner Road
This was originally built and opened as Bojangles' in April 1985 (the chain left Houston within a year). By 1993, it was operating as Arby's, but in 1996 the building was torn down and replaced with a Taco Bell.

Wendy's / 1225 Gessner Road
The "Featuring Chili & Frosty" sign in teal gives away how old this restaurant really is...it was originally built in 1972! It has seen updates since, in 2008, it ditched the solarium seating area.

English Oaks Apartments / 1320 Gessner Road
Surprisingly, by going back to before the apartments were built, the address, 1320 Gessner, was John Robert Powers School, a finishing school franchise for would-be models. Further research shows that the franchised schools (of which 1320 Gessner was almost certainly part of) used misleading advertising to attract customers. Based on a wedding announcement just two years prior that mentioned the address, the building was almost certainly a converted residence. By Feburary 1970, it was open as the first phase of English Oaks Apartments (120 units, the other 60 were completed later that year).

Despite some updates over the years, the apartments have declined (by the mid-1990s it was advertising Section 8 was welcome), but, extraordinarily, they have kept their name for over 50 years.

McDonald's / 1303 Gessner Road
A McDonald's was here since the 1970s. Sometime in 2006-2007 it was torn down and replaced with a restaurant that faced Westview Road (and has since renovated to remove the mansard roof).

1410 Gessner Road
Amco Auto Insurance vacated here in 2019, and the building was repainted white. Previous tenants here include Gram's Empanadas (2014-2015, building was gray with blue trim), Daiquiri King (2012-2013), Oasis (late 2010-late 2011), Manna Restaurant (also Manna Noodle House, 1999-2008), Mimi Oyster Bar Cafe (1998), Las Llardas (1996-1997), Taco Grill (1994-1995), Ninfa's Mexican Cafe (1990-1993...possibly), and Bambolino's (as of 1989, a Ninfa's-owned pizza restaurant).

Jack in the Box / 1419 Gessner Road
This Jack in the Box was built in 1970 and still retains its original (if updated) architecture.

Sunny Food Store / 1603 Gessner Road
Aka "Sunny's", this low-end Houston convenience store has been here since the early 1980s, and hasn't served branded gasoline since at least the mid-2000s.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen / 1615 Gessner Road
This Popeyes has been here since 1992, assuming the "Louisiana Kitchen" moniker in the early 2010s with a repaint.

Frank Cars 4 Less / 1624 Gessner Road
This building dates back to 1972 but has been an auto sales lot since at least the early 1990s (not necessarily the current name, it has changed hands a few times). As of January 2017 it was Mi Amigo Auto Sales, which it had been since 2011.

Shipley Do-Nuts / 1629 Gessner Road
According to tax records, Shipley has been here since 1989.

Baskin-Robbins / 1634 Gessner Road
While HCAD says 1964, Baskin-Robbins has been scooping ice cream here since 1966. The first line of flavors available at the ice cream shop can be seen here.

Jerry's Laundry & Cleaners / 1636 Gessner Road
Jerry's Laundry & Cleaners has been here since the early 1990s. In the 1960s it was part of a chain of Asian-styled architecture laundromats (of which 1636 Gessner still is) called Sav-On Cleaners and Launderers. An ad for Sav-On (with its various locations) can be seen here.

GESSNER IV SHOPPING CENTER

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a PDF of Gessner IV Shopping Center at press time, but I was able to at least get the Loopnet page which has a picture of the shopping center when it still had AutoZone.
  • Value Village (1811 Gessner) opened as Rice Food Markets back in 1966 but as early as 1973 it changed hands to Gerland's Food Fair (despite Gerland's having another store just up the road at 2555 Gessner). In 1988, it became The Home Front, a chain of discount linens and housewares stores, and in 1995 it closed for Value Village, a thrift store, which it still is today.
  • Mading Drugs was open by 1967 at 1815 Gessner as a complement to Rice and by 1969 had become Mading Dugan. In 1970, Jack Eckerd Corp. of Florida purchased the stores and converted them to Eckerd in 1971. Around 1973 Eckerd closed this location (though would continue to be in Houston for another 30 years before the chain was dismantled and the Texas stores sold to CVS) and became "Art Loft & Framery Inc.", which moved in 1983 to 2651 Gessner. After that, it became Auto Shack in 1985. Auto Shack later became known as AutoZone following a trademark dispute from Tandy's Radio Shack, and in 2009 moved across the street to a new building at 1834 Gessner. In 2014, it became i-Deal Solid Furniture (with a "Factory Store" sign next to it, though it was the only store of its kind), which lasted until 2019, and is now Dreams Mattresses & Furniture. Dreams' road sign says "Low Price Furniture" with the tiny Dreams logo next to it. i-Deal is bolded in this section because that's what I remember it as.
  • Houston Watch Company in the picture above helps date the picture from Loopnet, it existed from 1978 to 2004 at 1823 (North) Gessner Road. Cricket Wireless was here from 2007 to 2015/2016, and in March 2016, the Cricket sign was dismantled for El Kiosko, a snack bar, which is still there as of this writing.

AutoZone / 1818 Gessner Road
This building was originally an Eagle Discount Supermarket debuting in January 1970 with two others (3102 Kirby and 6425 San Felipe) as the first three Eagle stores in the Houston area, and featured a pharmacy (the Kirby store did not). The stores were operated by Lucky Stores out of California (why they chose to brand them as Eagle, a Midwestern division, instead of their flagship Lucky brand, was probably due to the "Lucky 7" grocery co-op in the area), and they even owned the larger Gemco membership stores.

In 1985, Lucky pulled the plug on their two-dozen store operation in the Houston area (Gemco had already closed by this time) and the store closed. By late 1987, it had become Sak-N-Sav Super Foods (this also had other locations in the Houston area, though none of them exist today, the last one being off of Ella and closing in the late 2000s). Sometime around 1991, Sak-N-Sav (now Sak-N-Sav Warehouse Foods) closed and Price Buster Foods (owned by Rice Food Markets) opened store #113 in May 1992.

In the mid to late 1990s, Price Buster folded and by 1999 it was a location of A-1 Flea Market (which had two other locations, 13945 Murphy Road and 717 Maxey Road). In 2003, it reopened as 99 Cent Only Stores but closed around 2009. In November 2011, it reopened as ALCO (a picture of this building can be seen at this Chronicle article) but it closed in 2014 when the chain liquidated. Finally, in late summer (or early fall) 2016, AutoZone moved into the store, replacing its smaller store in the parking lot.

Mac Haik Auto / 1834 Gessner Road
This was built in 2009 as a new location of AutoZone, and after AutoZone moved in 2016, it became a Mac Haik pre-owned mini-dealership. Previously, the lot was two businesses, the original 1834, an auto garage last operating as Tuneup Masters and a building that was clearly a former Pizza Hut (which operated from 1975 to approx. 1990 when it moved). It later served as Taqueria Arandas up until demolition in the late 2000s.


NEUENS ROAD to KEMPWOOD DRIVE


Pizza Hut / 2018 Gessner Road
A Pizza Hut was down the street at 1826 Gessner (demolished in 2009 for an AutoZone, before the AutoZone relocated to the much bigger former ALCO behind it a few years later). It was built in 1968 as a fast food restaurant per HCAD, with Winchell's Donut House being here from 1971 to 1986. Later, BoSa Donuts operated it (opening in 1986), with Pizza Hut relocating here in 1990.

Papa John's Pizza / 2022 Gessner Road
Pizza Hut got direct competition when Papa John's opened in 1997. This used to be a Taco Bell in 1974, and while it isn't known when it closed, it probably moved to 1223 Gessner in 1996 with Papa John's opening soon after.

Weasel Wash / 2048 Gessner Road
Self-serve car wash with a custom sign. I can't find much on it, though...

2060 Gessner Road
Former Long John Silver's originally opened in 1974. The captain left the port in 2019.

HAMMERLY PLAZA

This shopping center was built around 1970 anchored by Safeway, with an expansion facing Gessner built in the late 1980s. The base map found at this page is significantly out of date (archived here). The Shell station has been gone since 2008 (a Verizon store has since been built there), McDonald's Express became a full-line McDonald's years ago, and the former KFC has been reoccupied since the early 2000s.
  • Planet Fitness at 10116 Hammerly goes back to the early 1970s as a Weiner's location, which it was until 2001 when the chain collapsed.
  • Kroger at 2300 Gessner Road was one of the new stores when the center redeveloped in the late 1980s. Safeway was originally at 10140 Hammerly since 1970 and moved around 1987 (the old Safeway was demolished as part of the process). In 1989, it was rebranded as AppleTree and sold off to Kroger in early 1994. This store is oddly arranged (an arrangement persisting to this day) where the perishable departments are in the center of the store, and the dry grocery sections are located in two different sections at right angles to each other. (This bizarre layout was one of the reasons why, when living in Spring Branch at the time, I had preferred the "Villages" store off of Katy Freeway). At some point in the 2000s, the "Signature" name was applied to the store (by that point, it was pretty much meaningless) but removed again the late 2010s.
  • New Wok Chinese Cafe at 2330 Gessner Road was Kentucky Fried Chicken was here from around 1982 to 1999 (it must have been incorporated into the shopping center parking lot later). It was "Top China" from 1999 to 2001 and its current tenant since. Other than that, there's not much on this building. KFC may have put the solarium windows in.

Taqueria Cancun / 2227 Gessner Road
Part of a small Spring Branch chain, this Mexican cantina restaurant has been here since 1998. Before that, it was Grandy's (Grandy's Country Cupboard as it was known when it opened) from 1978 to 1997, and opened in 1976 as Steak N Shake in its first ill-fated Houston outing.

Hillendahl Neighborhood Library / 2436 Gessner Road
This small City of Houston library opened in October 1971.

Mister Car Wash / 2466 Gessner Road
Beyond Hillendahl Neighborhood Library is a power line right of way. This car wash was built in 2021 on the site of Pavillion at Gessner (it looks like it did have two "L"s) at 2500 Gessner, which was a wedding and event venue. I'm not sure when it was closed but it was torn down in 2019.

Aldi / 2550 Gessner Road
This Aldi opened in spring 2020 in the former Pavillion parking lot (see above).

LA Fitness / 2740 Gessner Road
Wal-Mart built a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market (#3451) here and opened in August 2001, yet Wal-Mart's grocery chain never really got a foothold in the Houston market as far as Neighborhood Market stores were concerned. It did get renovated and rebranded in 2009 or 2010 as "Neighborhood Market by Walmart" (luckily within a few years, they went with a new "Walmart Neighborhood Market" logo chainwide instead of that clumsy mess), yet this store never got this newer signage, so it was "Neighborhood Market by Walmart" until the store closed in January 2016 with over 250 others. It was later renovated and reopened as an LA Fitness in 2019.

KEMPWOOD DRIVE to TANNER ROAD

At the southwest corner of Kempwood Drive and Gessner is an H-E-B, which was formerly an Albertsons. This has a Kempwood Drive address, but may be covered on this page in the future. Also, just north of here, Gessner loses/gains the third lane from the inside of the road, just as it did south of Memorial City Mall. It is four lanes to the north of here.

Walgreens / 2808 Gessner Road
This Walgreens does not appear to have replaced anything. It was built in the late 1990s/early 2000s era.
Less than half a mile to the north was Pine Crest Country Club at 3080 Gessner. It closed in early 2017, and is currently being redeveloped into new subdivisions. The clubhouse has since been torn down.

The Lodge at Spring Shadows / 10221 Centrepark Drive
This apartment complex was built in 2001, and a second phase was finished off in 2009.

Valero / 4310 Gessner Road
This was originally Stop-N-Go since 1983, which later added gas pumps (before eventually rebuilding them). Later on it became Corner Store in the mid-2000s and Circle K in the very late 2010s. Under Corner Store's tenure (and going into Circle K) it was Valero, previously, it was Diamond Shamrock.


TANNER ROAD to NORTHWEST FREEWAY

Until around 2007 when the widening was completed, Gessner beyond this point was two way to Hempstead Road.

Lunch at Sam's / 10151 Alfred Lane
I've seen 5800 Gessner listed as an address here (including a 1990 phone book), but LaS is one of the few places in this stretch of Gessner (the Tanner/Hempstead stretch is a pretty lonely stretch with only older homes and a few industrial buildings). Interestingly, 5800 Gessner in HCAD is actually 5800 South Gessner (where a McDonald's is). I can't verify how long Lunch at Sam's has been open (the sign says 1954, but I can only trace it back to 1982). The building was built in 1940 and converted to residential use according to the entry at 10151 Alfred Lane in HCAD but as of 1964, a schoolteacher by the name of Votie Anderson lived here with his children, so who knows how old the restaurant REALLY is. The plaster hamburger off of Gessner is interesting, though...

The Nut Place / 6605 Gessner Road
No peanuts or almonds here at 6605 Gessner, which has been here since 2010 (the old location at 6606 Gessner operated from 1995 to 2010). This specialized fastener warehouse appears to be open to the public.

Courtyard by Marriott / 6708 Gessner Road
Courtyard by Marriott Houston NW/290 Corridor was opened in 2015 and actually faces the Northwest Freeway. The Northwest Freeway is here. From here, Gessner Road terminates just past West Road, picks up past Fallbrook as North Gessner, and ends at Willowbrook Mall. Perhaps if Gessner expands we can extend this page, too.


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